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Differentiating Acute Otitis Media and Acute Mastoiditis in Hospitalized Children.

Acute otitis media is a common infection in children. Most acute otitis media episodes can be treated at an outpatient setting with antimicrobials, or only expectant observation. Hospital treatment with parenteral medication, and myringotomy or tympanostomy, may be needed to treat those with severe, prolonged symptoms, or with complications. The most common intratemporal complication of acute otitis media is acute mastoiditis. If a child with acute mastoiditis does not respond to this treatment, or if complications develop, further examinations and other surgical procedures, including mastoidectomy, are considered. Since the treatment of complicated acute otitis media and complicated acute mastoiditis differs, it is important to differentiate these two conditions. This article focuses on the differential diagnostics of acute otitis media and acute mastoiditis in children.

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